PARIS: This is the last of these columns from Europe. By the time you
read this, the old man will be on his way back to America. After that
will come a long, long rest. And after the rest, well, you never can
Undoubtebly this seems to be a funny time for a fellow to be quitting
the war. It is a funny time. But I'm not leaving because of a whim, or
even especially because I'm homesick. I'm leaving for one reason only -
because I have just got to stop. "I've had it," as they say in the Army.
I have had all I can take for a while.
I've been 29 months overseas since this war started; have written about
700,000 words about it; have totalled nearly a year in the front lines.
I do hate terribly to leave right now, but I have given out. I've been
immersed in it too long. My spirit is wobbly and my mind is confused.
The hurt has finally become too great.
All of a sudden it seemed to me that if I heard one more shot or saw one
more dead man, I would go off my nut. And if I had to write one more
column, I'd collapse. So I'm on my way.
It may be that a few months of peace will restore some vim in my spirit,
and I can go war-horsing off to the Pacific. We'll see what a little New
Mexico sunshine does along that line.
EVEN AFTER two and a half years of war writing there still is a lot I
would like to tell. I wish right now that I could tell you about our
gigantic and staggering supply system that keeps these great armies
I am sorry I haven't been able to get around to many branches of
service that so often are neglected. I would like to have written about
the transportation corps and the airport engineers and the
wire-stringers and the CHEMICAL MORTARS and the port batalions. To all
of those that I have missed, my apologies. But the Army over here is
just too big to cover it all.
I KNOW THE FIRST question everyone will ask when I get home is:
"When will the war be over?"
So I'll answer even before you ask me, and the answer is: "I don't
know." We all hope and most of us think it won't be too long now.
And yet there is the possibility of it going on and on, even after we
are deep in Germany. The Germans are desperate and their leaders have
nothing to quit for.
Every day the war continues is another hideous blackmark against the
German nation. They are beaten and they haven't quit. Every life lost
from here is a life lost to no purpose.
If Germany does deliberately drag this war on she will so infuriate the
world by her inhuman bullheadness that she is apt to be committing
In our campaigns we felt we were fighting, on the whole, a pretty good
people. But we don't feel that way now. A change has occurred. On the
western front the Germans have shown their cruelty of mind. We didn't
used to hate them, but we do now.
The outstanding figure on this western front is Lt. Gen. Omar Nelson
Bradley. He is so honest and sincere that he will probably not get his
proper credits, except in military textbooks.
But he has proved himself a great general in every sense of the word.
And as a human being, he is just as great. Having him in command has
been a blessed good fortune for America.
I CANNOT HELP but feel bad about leaving. Even hating the whole business
as much as I do, you come to be a part of it. And you leave some of
yourself here when you depart. Being with the American soldier has been
a rich experience.
To the thousands of men that I know personally and the other hundreds of
thousands for who I have had the humble privilege of being a sort of
mouthpiece, this then is to say goodbye - and good luck."